A couple from the southeast of England have recently been awarded a five-figure sum from the health care system in the United Kingdom. The sum was as a result of the medical negligence death of their baby. The fee was settled out-of-court sas compensation for the loss of their daughter after only three days of life.
The couple took legal action against the hospital to which the mother was brought for the delivery of her child because they had concerns about the care she received there. Their baby was due in December 2011 was past its due date. The mother was brought to the hospital, admitted and soon thereafter, her waters broke.
She noticed that there was a green tar-like liquid, which is known as meconium, and is usually a sign that the baby is in some kind of distress. The couple also noticed that the baby’s heart rate being shown on the monitor was also critically low but several of the senior doctors reviewed it and decided that nothing needed to be done.
As the baby’s heart rate continued to fall, an emergency caesarean was performed. The baby came out blue and limp and her first breath did not come until an hour after she was born. She was then transferred to another hospital to its specialist baby unit for further treatment but there were no signs of improvement. As there was nothing that the medics could do, she was then returned to the hospital where she was born and cared for until she passed away.
An investigation done internally in the hospital regarding the daughter’s death determined that there was no one basically in charge of the mother’s labour and no senior doctor who was keeping in contact with her. In addition, any less senior staff who had any concerns about the mother’s care had no one to whom they could express their concerns.
The medical negligence lawyer who handled the case had several comments about it. He said that the parents underwent severe emotional trauma after the death of their daughter and that what the hospital failed to do was unacceptable and should never have happened.
However, he added, it is commendable that the case was settled early. He did express concerns that the case not be forgotten. Operational policies need to be examined and additional training provided to the staff in addition to what the trust found lacking in the situation so that something like this does not happen again.
The person in charge of nursing and patient safety at the hospital commented that this is a very sad case. The hospital apologised to the couple at the time and is doing so again with this settlement. The goal was to come to a settlement quickly so the family would not undergo any more distress. Such cases as this one are really very rare but can be extremely tragic for those that are affected by them.
Since the incident, the hospital has made changes to how the staff are trained and how communications are carried out when parents have to face the loss of a child.